Where is everyone ?

It was often baffling to me when any of my friends and family members living in US used to say, they are too busy to read any material that I used to share it to them, say it spiritual or simple materialistic fun stuff.  They were always saying (mostly in the non complaining mode) that their lives are revolved around getting things done around work and/or family.  During this extended trip to US, I had an opportunity to see lives of some of my friends in US little up close and personal in both formal & informal settings.  Though I had lived in US for 15 years before moving to Hyderabad about a decade ago, this experience was a like a reboot to me.

It was little frightening to see both the pace and monotonicity of life here.  Situation was little more frightening where both spouses are working full time. I also know of the cases where one of the spouses is fortunate to work from home.  Situation is not too friendly in their case too. The chase for getting things done starts as early as 5:30AM and does not end until very late evening.  Things seem to be much complicated with families with infants.   There is also bit of anxiety, panic, and subtle stress between the spouses.  This is often result of ownership of getting each trivial stuff done lies between the two spouses with limited help from outside (unless additional $$$ is spent)

If you look at the situation other side of the Atlantic Ocean, situation is little different.   Anxiety levels are lot lower due to support systems via so many avenues, such as outsourced help (maids, drivers, adhoc folks to run for our errands, parents, in-laws, boys in the office, etc).   There is so much of the stuff  (laundry, house cleaning, chauffeuring kinds, grocery shopping, ironing, etc) gets done by these folks.  At the end of the days, even some of the work does not get done; it does not feel like “end of the world”.  I was taking all these things quite granted, and now I am grateful than ever.

Where is everyone?

Whenever I visit US, I often awed by the number of folks that you see (or should I say we do not see) on the streets.  It is little more obvious in places like Texas, where there is so much land available.   Look at the attached photos that I have taken around well-known neighborhood of Dallas suburbs known as Valley Ranch.  I drove around this place more than 30 times in last 3 weeks. I rarely saw a person on the street.   Whenever I drive on these streets, I feel like Will Smith from in the Movie, “I am Legend” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0480249/) driving in NY City, which is deserted due to some time type of plague

I asked my friends here, why there is no one out there.  Not that I needed a reason.  He said, 9 out of 12 months, the place is too hot or too cold.   Given that kids are dropped off the school or day care beginning 7AM, and picked up after the work, there is little time left for anyone to play outside too (after attending taekwondo, music classes, karate, kumon, etc) and playing indoor games on TV.   With regards to kids not playing much outside, situation is same in India too. However you see lot of activity in the streets, and streets appear rarely deserted (due to sheer volume of population and work force involved to maintain our houses).  At least we hear vehicles honking indicating we are not alone  🙂

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7 thoughts on “Where is everyone ?

  1. Sai, I am a bacha to endorse your post but lemme do it anyway – I can sense the philosophy and the improvised metalanguage in your post, like never before.

    Musically,
    Ashwin Palaparthi.

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  2. We truely enjoyed the pleasure of your company, specifically the sky diving…Sai.
    I would like to say this…one has time, plenty of time to do things they want to do. It is all in the state of mind, if you feel you have lot of work/chores to do and you don’t have time for yourself, then one truely feels don’t have time for themselves.

    You are the awesome when it comes to balancing life. Hope you continue to balance your life and bring us all together with your amazing posts.

    Keep up the good work.

    Madhu

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  3. We also truly enjoyed awesome hospitality by you and Gayatri. You have a wonderful family and doing great raising beautiful kids. Good to see that everyone agrees that happiness is in the state of the mind, and acceptance comes from the same place too. My blog on the events leading to the skydiving is being worked. I will share our moments @ your home including Meher’s snap (I have never seen him so relaxed in last 20 years) 🙂

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  4. I totally agree to the points. I always tell everyone that I am soo grateful of the help that we have here, all kinds. Be it our family, extended family, neighbours etc. Then, we have our maids, drivers, office boys, cooks, without whom it would have been so difficult. Couldnt agree more.

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  5. Hey Sai, Good article, you have seen both sides of the world, so can objectively compare and contrast better. Yes, the stress levels are definitely low,at least currently in India. Also in many other countries.After reading this article I felt I am not alone or the only one having such observations. USA is a capitalistic country land of drive thru’s and where people take vacation to work :-), so all your points above are valid. I guess one can discuss the pros and cons for a long time. Good article !!!

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